"This Is Not For You": Reader Agency and Intimacy in Contemporary Horror Fiction
Hauglid, Aslak Rustad
Horror | reader | video | House | hornets | Marble | undertale | Leaves | Slender | response | of | games | man | evil | interpretive | theory | creepypasta | communities | resident
This thesis examines how recent/contemporary horror fiction uses the establishment of reader intimacy and challenges to reader agency in order to create experiences of horror. The discussion focuses on a selection of horror texts from different media published between 2000 and 2016. The thesis argues that these two techniques have come to be increasingly important horror tropes over this period, and examines how they are applied in order to propose a new perspective for understanding how contemporary horror operates. Two central arguments structure this discussion. The first argument is a claim that the aesthetic, narrative and in some case interactive dimensions of the examined horror texts illustrate how these texts seek to shorten the distance between reader and author, while simultaneously questioning the power the reader possesses in relation to the text. All of this takes place in the pursuit of creating an effective experience of horror. The second argument is that audiences of contemporary horror, in the shape of Internet communities, can to a much greater degree shape the genre and its texts than before, an agency that takes several forms. This thesis concludes that the experience of horror presented by these texts and their audiences call attention to the act of invoking the monstrous, an act which the reader is being made responsible for.